Murdoch: Patience with Sky Deutschland
James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and crown prince in line for the top position at media concern News Corp, has assured he will take a deep breath over the restructuring of German pay-TV operator Sky Deutschland.
“It was clear to us from the start that this would prove to be a tough nut to crack and that we would need to give it time, but we’ll get it done,” Murdoch told German news magazine Der Spiegel. The subscription broadcaster, which News Corp bought into at the beginning of 2008, has only made a profit once in 18 years and was recently only able to be salvaged through a considerable capital increase and refinancing.
“We are still at the very beginning in Germany,” said Murdoch. “A lot of things have never really been tried there and we are now bringing in the experience and a team.” News Corp was inundated at the beginning with the same reservations in other countries, said Murdoch, but he was sure that Sky Deutschland would “certainly become the next big milestone” for News Corp.
The image of News Corp as a reckless opinion monopolist doesn’t faze Murdoch. “We take no notice of all the things that are constantly said and written about our image. For us, the only thing that counts is what the readers and viewers think of us.”
Murdoch sharply criticised the dominance of public broadcasters such as the BBC, which he claims make it increasingly difficult for private publishers to offer journalism on the internet in a profitable way. “It bothers me that a rational discussion on this can’t be held because everywhere the public broadcasting system is treated as almost holy and untouchable.”
After his brother Lachlan and sister Elisabeth resigned their leading positions at News Corp, James is now in position to be his father’s successor, although he doesn’t occupy himself with career prospects. “I don’t think about who my father’s successor will be. That’s a matter for the board of directors.”
Rupert Murdoch is 78 years old, “But he has remained extremely young,” said James. “The rebel in our family is still the boss.”